Review: Lost Souls

Series: Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: #4

Pride can become arrogance. Arrogance is the father of cruelty. But in the beginning, there was also an idealism, a hope that he could change the human condition.

Victor Helios (né Frankenstein) is dead. Victor Leben (né Helios (né Frankenstein)) is alive.

With the events at the end of Dead and Alive, we all knew there would be another book. Here it is!

It’s … fine. It’s got all the bits you’d need for a thriller, but I don’t feel the villains as much. And there’s not really and ending. It’s very much part 1 of 2. At this point, you could easily stop at book 3… or read on to finish book 5. I suppose I’m in the latter camp. Onward!

Rather than New Orleans and genetic engineering, we have small down Montana and nanotech. It’s the same story in a different setting.

Plotwise… there’s no ending. After 3 books of it… I shouldn’t have expected better. Perhaps with the next book being the last, we’ll finally get one? But I doubt it.

Characterwise, we still have Deucalion, all the more teleporty and murderous–but only of the bad guys. We really need so much more with him. What is it like to be Frakenstein’s monster? To live for hundreds of years? There are hints, but still. Not nearly enough.

We still have Carson and Michael, but now they have a child (who they leave behind). I still enjoy their banter and they theoretically have more to lose now… but it’s a bit much.

We still have Erika 5 and Jocko–and Jocko is not any better. I still don’t get the way Koontz went with that. At all.

And we have a whole new cast. A migrant thief. A young man with a lower than average IQ and a heart of gold. An old man and a little boy at the hospital. The locals–not nearly as willing to let themselves be taken over. Not without a fight. ‘murica yo.

And of course a wide variety of the monsters. They’re basically all obsessive machines–who pretend they’re perfect–and Victor–who has basically no personality this time around. It’s a bummer. Victor the first, as mad as he was, was actually a pretty solid antagonist. Victor the clone… less so.

Like I said, it’s fine. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. And I’ll read the sequel. But there are better books out there. better Koontz even. Onward.

Notes from as I read:

He was wise enough and sufficiently experienced to know that intuition was the highest form of knowledge and should never be ignored.

Pay attention to intuition? Absolutely. Treat it as the ultimate authority? Never. We didn’t evolve in the modern world, our intuitions haven’t in all ways caught up.

At the entrance to the nave, he dared to dip two fingers in the font, make the sign of the cross, and invoke the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. His existence was a blasphemy, a challenge to sacred order, because his maker—a mere mortal—had been in rebellion against the divine and against all natural law. Yet Deucalion had reason to hope that he was not just a thing of meat and bone, that his ultimate fate might not be oblivion.

Hmm. I wonder theologically if he’s damned for his creation or one his own actions / faith as anyone else.

Like a nail, the needle had a head. It was not flat but rounded, resembling the head of a decorative upholstery tack. The round form looked like a silvery beetle clinging to the mayor’s temple. The needle was a probe, and the head contained an abundance of electronics, intricate nanocircuitry.

Well that’s an interesting technological jump.

For Carson O’Connor-Maddison and her husband, Michael Maddison—she the daughter of a homicide cop, he the son of industrial-safety engineers—the past two years were the busiest of their lives, with considerable homicide and little safety. As New Orleans police detectives, they discovered that a supercilious biotech billionaire named Victor Helios was in fact Victor Frankenstein, still rockin’ at the age of 240. In league with the 200-year-old Deucalion, who sought his maker’s destruction, Carson and Michael survived numerous violent encounters with members of Victor’s New Race, saw horrors beyond anything Poe might have hallucinated in an opium fever, did a significant amount of chasing and being chased, shot a lot of big noisy guns, and ate mountains of fine Cajun food at establishments like Wondermous Eats. Carson drove numerous vehicles at very high speeds, and Michael never kept his promise to vomit if she didn’t slow down. They destroyed Victor’s laboratory, put him on the run, ate even better Cajun takeout from Acadiana, attended Victor’s death, and witnessed the destruction of his entire New Race. They acquired a German shepherd named Duke after saving him from monsters, and they were present when the enigmatic and strangely talented Deucalion cured Carson’s then twelve-year-old brother, Arnie, of autism. Seeking a fresh start, they turned in their badges, got married, moved to San Francisco, and considered opening a doughnut shop. But they wanted work that allowed them legally to carry concealed firearms, so instead of running a doughnut shop, they obtained licenses as private investigators and soon launched the O’Connor-Maddison Detective Agency. They busted some bad guys, learned to use chopsticks, ate a lot of superb Chinese food, spoke wistfully about the doughnut shop that might have been, and had a baby whom Carson wanted to name Mattie, after the spunky girl in the movie True Grit. But Michael insisted he wanted to call her Rooster or at least Reuben, in honor of Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn, the character played by John Wayne in that film. Eventually, they named her Scout, after the splendidly spunky girl in To Kill a Mockingbird.

That is quite the paragraph… It does make one wonder how in the world New Orleans dealt with hundreds (thousands?) of people suddenly dropping dead when Victor died.

“I’m too dad for this stuff.” Drawing the pistol from her shoulder rig, she said, “And I’m too mom. But baby needs new shoes.”

Cute :)

Lightner shook his head. “We’ve found them easy. Trusting. Submissive to authority even before a brain tap. Not like we thought Montanans might be.” “We’ve found the same,” said Jarmillo. “So much for the Wild West. Everywhere now is a sheepfold.” “We’ve started calling them two-legged lambs,” Lightner said. “We’ll easily have the whole town sheared by dawn Friday.” With contempt as richly satisfying as his growing delight in the prospect of triumph, the chief said, “Sheared and butchered.”

That’s a wonderfully cheerful analogy.

Ears stoppered with plastic corks, throat blocked with a nearly asphyxiating mass of cinnamon roll, Jocko inserted the long thin nozzle of the aerosol can into his right nostril, pinched his nose shut around it, and triggered the gas. His eyes, already as wide as Erika had ever seen them, grew wider still and seemed to turn even a brighter yellow than usual. A peculiar sound arose from Jocko’s head, perhaps from his sinus cavities, a sound that would have been alarming and even terrifying if it had come from anyone else’s head, but which seemed to be music to Jocko, who began to dance in place. The horrific sound grew increasingly shrill until the corks popped out of Jocko’s ears and ricocheted off the kitchen cabinets.

I still neither care for nor particularly understand these sections with Jocko.

Deucalion leaned forward to explain. “On the subjective level of our five senses, the arrow of time is always moving forward, but on the quantum level, the arrow of time is indeterminate and, for certain purposes, its flight can be adjusted to one’s intention. We can’t actually go back in time to affect the future, but we can travel through the past on the way to the future.” Carson said, “We don’t really need to understand.” “To bring us to Montana,” Deucalion continued, “ … let’s just imagine that for us the arrow of time flew in a circle, backward into the past for a few hours, then forward to the moment from which we departed, simultaneously moving us nearly a thousand miles through space. You were unaware of the hours the journey took backward and forward in time, because we arrived at the same moment we left. But being unaware on a subjective level has, in this case, the equivalent rehabilitating effect of sleep.” After a silence, Carson said, “I’d rather think it’s just the fresh Montana air.”

I think that’s the most he’s said about it… and I agree with Carson.

Coffee and cookies with the Frankenstein monster and the bride of Frankenstein.

I did not make that connection. In three books.

Assuming the clone was as drunk with pride and as given to vainglory as his cloner had been, his experiments would be fraught with setbacks, resulting in the perpetual revision of his schedule for world domination.

That seems a risky assumption.

“I like movies where people they laugh a lot and nice things happen,” Nummy said. “Don’t babble nonsense at me, Peaches. I’m trying to think this through.” Jamming his hands in the pockets of his new blue coat and making fists of them to stop them from shaking, Nummy said, “I mean, I don’t like them movies where people they get eaten by anything. I shut them off or change the channel.” “This is reality, boy. We only have one channel, and the only way we change it is die.”

That is a bit of a life philosophy there.